While most individuals are aware that they can be charged with DWI if they are caught operating their car or truck while intoxicated, many aren’t clear as to whether the State’s DWI laws apply to those who operate a bike or scooter. In this article, we are going to take a look at some of New Jersey’s DWI laws and when you are at risk of being charged with the crime.
New Jersey DWI Laws
In the State of New Jersey, “a person is guilty of drunk driving if he/she operates a motor vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or greater. BAC refers to the amount of alcohol [that is] in your blood” [Source: New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety]. A driver is also at risk of being charged with driving while impaired if their BAC level is below 0.08 if they are displaying signs of impairment.
To help you understand just how much alcohol it could take to raise an individual’s BAC level to 0.08, we encourage you to click here to visit the College of Saint Benedict, Saint John’s University’s website that can help you understand BAC levels a little more. Although it is never safe for an individual to get behind the wheel of their vehicle after having consumed any amount of alcohol, the likelihood of an accident increases as a person’s BAC level rises.
For example, when an individual’s BAC level reaches 0.08-0.13, you can expect that their “motor skills [will] start to become impaired and [their] sense of balance may be compromised.” During this time, emotions “become a bit exaggerated and “judgment is impaired.” Drivers who reach this level generally think “they are functioning better than [they] actually are.”
Does New Jersey’s DWI Laws Apply to Bicycles and Electric Scooters?
It is important to note that New Jersey’s DWI laws apply to those who operate a motor vehicle. According to New Jersey Biking Regulation 39:4-14.5, “Bicycle” means any two-wheeled vehicle having a rear-drive which is solely human-powered and having a seat height of 25 inches or greater when the seat is in the lowest adjustable position.”
Because a bicycle is not considered a motor vehicle, you cannot be charged with DWI while riding a bike that contains two wheels, is solely human- powered, and has a seat sitting 25 inches or higher when it is in the lowest adjustable position. Now, although you cannot be charged with DWI while riding a bike impaired, you can be charged with other crimes such as disorderly conduct and/or public intoxication so it is never a good idea to get on a bike if you know you are going to be drinking.
Can I be charged with DWI if I was caught operating an electric scooter while intoxicated?
You can. In fact, a 26-year-old in Hoboken, NJ was recently arrested for allegedly operating an electric scooter while intoxicated, reports ABC 7 NY. Police arrested their first intoxicated scooter rider back in August 2019, after they witnessed an individual fall from his scooter on account of him being drunk. According to the news source, it was sometimes in October when Sergeant Nicholas Burke had been in the area of Newark Street and Park Avenue just after 4:00 p.m. when “he observed [another] male who was visibly staggering and unsteady unlocking [a] Lime-brand scooter.”
As the male began to ride away, Burke followed him with his lights and sirens on. As the officer rode behind the rider, he allegedly witnessed the 26-year-old “swaying back and forth on the scooter [who looked as if] he was going to lose control at any moment.” The rider eventually stopped about a block down the road and was asked to submit to a field sobriety test after other officers responded. The rider, who was eventually identified as Nicholas Cutrone, refused to submit to the field sobriety test and was arrested. He was charged with DWI, reckless driving, and refusal to submit to a breath test.
What should I do if I was charged with DWI in New Jersey?
If you or someone you know was recently arrested for DWI in NJ, it is imperative that you retain a NJ DWI attorney who can help defend you. DWIs carry serious penalties, all of which you don’t want to be faced with. Therefore, if you want help fighting your charges or potentially getting them reduced to a lesser degree, contact NJ DWI lawyer Eric M. Mark today for legal assistance.
The Law Office of Eric M. Mark is located at:
Jersey City Office
121 Newark Avenue, Suite 515
Jersey City, NJ 07302
201 Washington Street
Newark, NJ 07102
20 Commerce Drive, Ste. 135
Cranford, NJ 07016